Jay and Livermore Falls lost each other as football rivals due to school consolidation. Leavitt and Mt. Blue’s budding gridiron relationship ended abruptly thanks to Maine Principals’ Association reclassification.
Thankfully for players and fans, all the necessary elements — proximity, relative strength, even a coach or two and parents with ties to both communities — have converged to help Leavitt and Spruce Mountain pick up the pieces of the glorious past.
For the second consecutive year, Spruce Mountain (7-0) and Leavitt (6-1) will collide with the Campbell Conference regular-season championship and No. 1 seed in the Class C West playoffs on the line.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Libby Field in Turner. As a consequence of the three-day storm that has deluged the region, however, there was talk Thursday that the game could be pushed back 24 hours to allow for better field conditions. A decision will be made early Friday.
Playing the role of undefeated favorite in 2013, Leavitt recovered from a slow start to stop Spruce Mountain, 25-6, at Livermore Falls. Three weeks later, in the regional championship rematch at Turner, the Hornets buzzed to a 48-21 victory on their way to a state title.
“It’s the opposite of last year, the records and the field,” Spruce Mountain coach Walter Polky said. “I hope the outcome is the opposite for us.”
“I know the people in Turner, Livermore and Jay wouldn’t have it any other way,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “It should be fun.”
On the heels of the first winning season in its brief history, senior-dominated Spruce Mountain has breezed through seven games by an aggregate score of 331-57. The closest games were a 27-6 home win over Wells that turned on a go-ahead touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half, and a 34-6 triumph at Cape Elizabeth in which the Phoenix dominated early.
The three-pronged offensive attack of quarterback Peter Theriault, tailback Matt Vigue and wide receiver Deonte Ring has started together since its sophomore season. Dylan Smith and Anthony York lead a veteran offensive line.
Spruce Mountain has developed other big-play options during the season, as well, including Dillon Webster and brothers Austin and Andrew Darling.
All the above are big-play threats defensively, as well, with linebacker James Ouellette leading the resistance.
Leavitt has rattled off six consecutive wins since a 35-34, double-overtime loss to Cape Elizabeth on opening night. It should be noted that the Hornets’ loss to the Capers, unlike the Phoenix’s win, occurred before Cape QB/DB Noah Wolfinger was sidelined for the season with a knee injury.
After scoring at least 58 points in four consecutive games, Leavitt leaned on its defense — led by Taylor Woodbury, Chandler Lajoie, Billy Bedard and Will Parkin — to close out a 26-19 win at Wells last Friday.
The Hornets have been a pass-happy bunch, with junior quarterback Levi Craig airing out 26 touchdown passes. Max Green and Gabe Seeley are his favorite targets. Bedard, Craig and Julian Kirouac run the ball effectively enough to balance the equation.